The holidays are full of joy for everyone — but they also bring along some danger for the four-legged family members in your life.
From decorations to foods to presents, the holidays pose some new hazards for your pets. Keep your cats, dogs and other pets safe this year by watching out for these possible holiday hazards.
Watch the yummy foods
Holiday food isn’t just tempting for humans. Even dogs and cats may want to dig into family meals and desserts too. When you serve up some cheer this year, keep an eye on these items and don’t let your pet get a taste of these:
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate, which can be lethal to dogs even in small amounts
- Artificial sweetener in candies and baked goods, which can cause diarrhea and liver problems in dogs
- Poultry and ham bones, which present a choking hazard to all pets
- Yeasted dough, especially raw, which can cause dangerous and painful bloating in animals
- High-fat items like butter, turkey skin, ham and more that can lead to painful, life-threatening pancreatitis
- Raisins and grapes, which are toxic for pets
If you want your pet to enjoy special holiday foods, bake up some items especially for them or purchase holiday items at a local pet store. Remember, always monitor dogs when they are chewing on items like bones, antlers or rawhides.
Be careful with the Christmas tree
Christmas trees are both a danger and a challenge, especially for cats who like to climb. Secure your Christmas tree to the ceiling or wall to ensure it doesn’t fall over if your kitty gets adventurous or decides to play with the ornaments.
You should also avoid the addition of any chemicals in the water at the base of live trees. It is likely your pet will drink from the tree stand at some point and additives to keep the tree fresh could be toxic.
And when it comes to tree décor, avoid salt dough ornaments, popcorn garlands or another food-based decorations that could tempt pets. Also, try to purchase shatter-proof ornaments to prevent any possible injuries to you or your pets’ paws.
Prepare for guests
Not all pets enjoy houseguests. Many cats and dogs can’t take the stress of crowds and new people, putting their health at risk and causing strange behaviors, even biting or aggression.
Make sure your pet has somewhere safe and quiet in the house they can go to be alone, such as a bedroom away from the merriment. You may choose to crate your pet with a favorite toy or treat if they feel safer that way or even board them away from home for the evening.
If other guests plan to bring pets to your home, be sure to set ground rules and make arrangements for their pets as well.
Clean up well
After your holiday party is over, clean up all scraps, foods, tinsel and more. Always take out the trash to keep it away from curious (and hungry) pets. When you let your pet out of their comfort area, give them plenty of praise and love to help them calm down and feel safe in their home again.
As you prepare for the holiday season, keep your cat and dog in mind, too. With the right precautions, every member of your family can have a happy holiday.
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